“Vaisampayana said, ‘Great was the uproar, at that time, O king, of bothmen and women standing on the terraces of mansions or on the Earth.Possessed of great intelligence, the old king, with joined hands, andtrembling with weakness, proceeded with difficulty along the principalstreet which was crowded with persons of both sexes. He left the citycalled after the elephant by the principal gate and then repeatedly badethat crowd of people to return to their homes. Vidura had set his hearton going to the forest along with the king. The Suta Sanjaya also, theson of Gavalgani, the chief minister of Dhritarashtra, was of the sameheart. King Dhritarashtra however, caused Kripa and the mightycar-warrior Yuyutsu to refrain from following him. He made them over intoYudhishthira’s hands. After the citizens had ceased following themonarch, king Yudhishthira, with the ladies of his house-hold, preparedto stop, at the command of Dhritarashtra. seeing that his mother Kuntiwas desirous of retiring into the woods, the king said unto her, ‘I shallfollow the old monarch. Do thou desist.’ It behoveth thee, O queen, toreturn to the city, accompanied by these thy daughters-in-law. Thismonarch proceeds to the woods, firmly resolved to practise penances.Though king Yudhishthira said these words unto her, with his eyes bathedin tears, Kunti, however, without answering him, continued to proceed,catching hold of Gandhari.
“Kunti said, ‘O king, never show any disregard for Sahadeva. He is verymuch attached to me, O monarch, and to thee also always. Thou shouldstalways bear in mind Karna who never retreated from battle. Through myfolly that hero has been slain in the field of battle. Surely, my son,this heart of mine is made of steel, since it does not break into ahundred pieces at not seeing that child born of Surya. When such has beenthe case, O chastiser of foes, what can I now do? I am very much to blamefor not having proclaimed the truth about the birth of Surya’s child. Ocrusher of foes, I hope thou wilt, with all thy brothers, make excellentgifts for the sake of that son of Surya. O mower of foes, thou shouldstalways do what is agreeable to Draupadi. Thou shouldst look afterBhimasena and Arjuna and Nakula and Sahadeva. The burthens of the Kururace have now fallen on thee, O king. I shall live in the woods withGandhari, besmearing my body with filth, engaged in the performance ofpenances, and devoted to the service of my father-in-law andmother-in-law.'
‘Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed by her, the righteous-souledYudhishthira, with passions under complete control, became, with all hisbrothers, plunged into great distress. Endued with great intelligence,the king said not a word. Having reflected for a little while, kingYudhishthira the Just, cheerless and plunged in anxiety and sorrow,addressed his mother, saying,–‘Strange, indeed, is this purpose ofthine? It behoves thee not to accomplish it. I can never grant theepermission. It behoves thee to show us compassion. ‘Formerly, when wewere about to set out of Hastinapore for the woods, O thou of agreeablefeatures, it was thou who, reciting to us the story of Vidula’sinstructions to her son, excited us to exertion. It behoves thee not toabandon us now. Having slain the kings of Earth, I have won sovereignty,guided by thy words of wisdom communicated through Vasudeva. Where now isthat understanding of thine about which I had heard from Vasudeva? Dostthou wish now to fall away from those Kshatriya practices about whichthou hadst instructed us? Abandoning ourselves, this kingdom, and thisdaughter-in-law of thine who is possessed of great fame, how wilt thoulive in the inaccessible woods? Do thou relent! Kunti, with tears in hereyes, heard these words of her son, but continued to proceed on her way.Then Bhima addressed her, saying,–‘When, O Kunti, sovereignty has beenwon, and when the time has come for thee to enjoy that sovereignty thusacquired by thy children, when the duties of royalty await discharge bythee, whence has this desire got hold of thy mind? Why then didst thoucause us to exterminate the Earth? For what reason wouldst thou leave alland wish to take up thy abode in the woods? We were born in the woods.Why then didst thou bring us from the woods while we were children?Behold, the two sons of Madri are overwhelmed with sorrow and grief.Relent, O mother, O thou of great fame, do not go into the woods now. Dothou enjoy that prosperity which acquired by might, has becomeYudhishthira’s today.’ Firmly resolved to retire into the woods, Kuntidisregarded these lamentations of her sons. Then Draupadi with acheerless face, accompanied by Subhadra, followed her weepingmother-in-law who was journeying on from desire of going into the woods.Possessed of great wisdom and firmly resolved on retirement from theworld, the blessed dame walked on, frequently looking at her weepingchildren. The Pandavas, with all their wives and servitors, continued tofollow her. Restraining then her tears, she addressed her children inthese words.'”